Summary: In this lesson we learn about the content and the recipients of the angel's message in Luke 2:11.
For the past few months we have been studying the life of Jesus in the Gospel of Luke. This evening I would like to reflect on a previous text we looked at only very briefly.
Several weeks ago we examined the birth of Jesus, who was born in a stable in Bethlehem (2:1-7). On the same night of Jesus’ birth, an angel of the Lord appeared to some shepherds in the vicinity of Bethlehem, who were keeping watch over their flock by night. After their initial shock and fear at having seen an angel of the Lord, the angel gave them good news of great joy.
This evening I would like to focus on what the angel said in verse 11, where he described Jesus as Savior, Christ, and Lord.
Let’s read about the angel of the Lord visiting the shepherds in Luke 2:8-11, although I will focus on verse 11:
8 And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. 10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. (Luke 2:11)
Luke said that in the same region where Jesus was born, which was Bethlehem, there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night (2:8).
These shepherds were simply going about their regular work. They watched the flock of sheep by night. It was probably a night just like every other night of the many thousands of nights that they watched the flock.
Although there was a time when shepherds enjoyed a good reputation, that was now no longer the case. Shepherds were near the bottom of the social ladder. Because they lived and worked out in the fields, they were unable to keep the religious, ceremonial law. Therefore, they were treated as unclean. Furthermore, they were regarded as liars and thieves, and so they were not allowed to testify in a court of law. The people despised shepherds. In fact, with the exception of lepers, shepherds were the lowest class of men living in that day.
It was to these men that the angel of the Lord appeared that first Christmas night and gave them a message of good news of great joy that would be for all the people.
So, this evening let’s examine the content and the recipients of the angel’s message. In Luke 2:11 we learn about:
1. The Content of the Angel’s Message (1:11b)
2. The Recipients of the Angel’s Message (1:11a)
I. The Content of the Angel’s Message (1:11b)
First, let’s look at the content of the angel’s message.
The angel said in verse 11b, “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”
The angel used three titles for the baby, Jesus. He said that Jesus is Savior, Christ, and Lord. Let’s look at each title.
A. Jesus Is Savior
First, Jesus is Savior.
The description of Jesus as Savior is an apt one, since the reason he was born was to “save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21).
This obvious truth is often obscured in contemporary presentations of the gospel. Too often Jesus is presented as the one who will rescue people from unfulfillment in their marriages, families, or jobs; from a debilitating habit they cannot overcome on their own; or from a sense of purposelessness in life. But while relief in those areas may be a by-product of salvation, it is not its primary intent.
Our true problem, of which those issues are only symptoms, is sin. Everyone (Romans 3:10, 23) is guilty of breaking God’s holy law and deserves eternal punishment in hell.
The true gospel message is that Jesus came into the world to deliver people from sin and guilt—not psychological, artificial guilt feelings, but true, God-imposed guilt that damns unbelieving and unrepentant people to hell for all eternity.
B. Jesus Is Christ
Second, Jesus is Christ.
Christ is an exalted title for a baby born in such humble circumstances.
The title and its Old Testament counterpart, Messiah (Daniel 9:25-26), both mean “anointed one.” It refers to one placed in a high office and worthy of exaltation and honor.
Jesus was anointed first in the sense that he is God’s appointed King, the “King of kings” (Revelation 17:14; 19:16), who will sit on David’s throne and reign forever, as Gabriel told Mary (1:32-33).